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How We Planned an Amazing, Wintery Wedding in Four Months

With the best scotch eggs ever

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Claire, works for a sustainability not for profit & Matthew, runs a business placing part time finance directors

One sentence sum-up of the wedding vibe: Not the best day of our lives but definitely in the top five.

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Planned Budget: Somewhere between £10,000 and £15,000

Actual Budget: Probably something nearer £17,000

Number of Guests: Around 70

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Where we allocated the most funds

The Crazy Bear—they were our ceremony and reception venue, caterers, and booze providers. They also did DOC as part of the package. Our coordinator was absolutely amazing, which I know because I didn’t see him for the entire day!

The Crazy Bear isn’t a cheap venue but we knew as soon as we talked about it/looked at it that it was where we would get married. We wanted a rustic, English country pub with a huge side helping of glamour thrown in and The Crazy Bear delivers that in spades. We also stayed there for the weekend and had a bunch of rooms as part of the wedding package. Their cheapest menu happened to be the one we wanted, picnic style food (their scotch eggs are THE BOMB!) served buffet style.

Their wine was delicious (I should know, I “sampled” a bunch of it at the reception), they were totally accommodating to our vegan guests, their staff are professional and unobtrusive.

I TOTALLY blew the budget on my dress. To this day, I am unreconciled with this and with the choice I made for my outfit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing dress, handmade in the UK by very skilled seamstresses, and I didn’t begrudge paying for that skill, but still, I could totally have spent half the money on a kick ass designer frock that I could be wearing now (well, not right now as I’m at work!) and probably, maybe, might have looked (and felt) better. Ho hum. BTW the dress is for sale if you’re interested.

Our photographer, Andy’s, photos are effing awesome. Fact. He’s also a totally cool person and a photography ninja. Every single penny we spent on him was worth it a hundred times over. Book him immediately.

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Where we allocated the least funds

Basically everything else. We only did bouquets for me and the bridesmaids, my flower crown (which I wore for five days straight), and buttonholes for the groom and best woman. My florist is a GD flower legend, I can’t rate her highly enough (plus she just went to Africa to build beehives so she’s totally a good person too).

Our ceremony room had a black leather buttoned ceiling so I think it goes without saying that we didn’t need much in the way of decor. The only exception was when I decided I “needed” eighty seven thousand candles for the tables about three days before the wedding—cue dash to Ikea and Facebook pleas. It all came together at the last minute and I was totally happy with the way it looked.

We paid for the bridesmaids dresses from the high street, though they picked them (after a fun and exhausting day of trying on gold lame dresses). They decided they wanted to match, and I didn’t care as long as they looked good together (and hot—which they totally did right??). They bought their own accessories and shoes. In a fit of control-freakery, we asked our guests not to wear black because it was a winter wedding and I wanted some damn colour, so it totally worked out that my ladies chose black dresses.

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What was totally worth it

Our photographer and venue—these two made our wedding the success it was. We didn’t gell right away with the main wedding coordinator at The Crazy Bear which did give me a few tiny misgivings, but as the date got nearer, I just realised that he knew exactly what he was doing, he’d done it before, was extremely professional, and that he wouldn’t be our DOC anyway.

Planning it together—we’ve both been married before, me not that long previously, so we both had a good idea of how we wanted our wedding to feel. Of course, it helped that we were totes on the same page and that Matthew is pretty laid back when it comes to last minute demands for candles, etc., but this was, without question, a team effort.

Not spending time and money on stuff we knew from the off we didn’t need or want, e.g., orders of service, a table plan, a vintage bicycle with flowers in the basket, a Pinterest-worthy matching set of robes for the bridesmaids, thirty-four DIY projects, super fancy letterpressed invites, a wedding logo, hand made dried rose petal confetti. Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE all of those things (and I’ll admit, I am kind of bummed we didn’t have matching robes), but they weren’t right for our budget (financially or timewise).

Planning the whole thing in four months—it is totally possible and totally helpful when it comes to decision making

Getting married again was also TOTALLY worth it :)

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What was totally not worth it

I hate to say it but… my dress. The dress, as an object, was totally worth the price, but it didn’t make me feel like a million dollars (or pounds?). But hey, I’m letting myself be okay with that. Also, word to the wise—those pouffy dresses are hot. I mean, temperature hot, ladies. Calf sweat is totally a real thing (even at November wedding).

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A few things that helped us along the way

APW! I’m serious, I think APW was the only wedding website I looked at, and that was because I already read it beforehand anyway.

My best practical advice for my planning self

I think we pretty much nailed it so I’m going to congratulate myself instead.

Though having said that, I’d advise my planning self not to have a first dance and also to work on my kissy face because my current one is NOT working for me.

Favorite thing about the wedding

Being married at the end of it (and our four day mini-moon in Cornwall afterwards). And the photos. And the scotch eggs (hot damn they were delicious).

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Other Notes

This is second time around for both of us, which, in lots of ways, made it easier to cut out the crap and really focus on what we wanted—by which I mean we didn’t bother organizing anything until about four months before the wedding.

We met at work (though Matthew has since left to run his own company) and were friends for about a year through breakups on both sides. The timing couldn’t have been worse, but somehow it seems to have worked out. Mostly because we bring out the best in each other.

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